Tim Murtaugh, Communications Director for the US President’s Campaign, Donald Trump, affirmed that reuniting the more than 500 immigrant children separated from their families “is not so simple”, and indicated that in many cases it is the parents who do not want their children to be returned to their countries of origin.
“It has been the experience of DHS (Department of Homeland Security) that in many cases, parents don’t want the children to come back“Murtaugh told CNN.
Last Tuesday, a group of attorneys appointed by a federal court to reunite young immigrants with their families admitted that they have not been able to locate the parents 545 children separated forcibly from their undocumented relatives between 2017 and 2018.
The issue jumped onto the stage of the debate held Thursday night by Trump and the Democratic candidate for the White House, Joe Biden, who called the current Administration’s policy of separation of migrant families “criminal”.
Trump alleged that his administration “treats very well” the 545 children whose parents it has not yet located, after the policy of “zero tolerance”.
Under this initiative, promoted in May 2018 by the then Attorney General Jeff Sessions, more than 2,800 minors were separated from their parents, until federal judge Dana Sabraw ordered regroup the little ones with his family.
At the time, it was not entirely clear whether all the separated children could be reunited with their parents. “The fact is that it is not as simple as you make it seem or as Joe Biden put it in the debate last night to locate parents who are in other countries,” said Murtaugh, for whom it is “a unfortunate situation“.
DHS spokesman, Chase Jennings, published a statement on his Twitter account, in which he defended that the agency “has taken all steps to facilitate the reunification of those families where the parents wanted that such reunification happen “.
“The simple fact is this: after parents were contacted to reunite them with their children, many parents have refused,” added the spokesman, who stressed that “the result is that children remain in United States while their parents continue in their countries of origin. “